A lot has changed since Mike Sherman's last tour of duty at Texas A&M.
In 1996, University Drive didn't see a lot of activity much further east than Texas Avenue. The question "which Wings-N-More?" had yet to be spoken, and less than half the population could probably tell you where Rock Prairie Road was located.
"In the old days we had one sure restaurant we went to and I usually ended up at Denny's or Tom's BBQ, that was about it," Sherman said. "Chicken Oil Co. maybe, or Koppe (Bridge). Now there are a few more options out there. And some of the homes and golf courses being built are (incredible). it's a different place than when I left."
But the rapidly growing list of College Station restaurants isn't the only thing that's changed in the last 11 years.
The landscape of college recruiting has evolved into a year-round event. Early commitments were few and far between compared to the current recruiting landscape, and coaches didn't have to worry about complying with text message rules from the NCAA.
Back then, kids carried pagers.
But so far, Sherman and his staff have been more than sufficient on the recruiting front, holding together most of Franchione's talented recruiting class and even adding a few back into the fold who had ignored A&M previously. It took Sherman just a few days to haul in former Oklahoma commit Jeffrey Fuller and his staff is hard at work lining up other blue-chippers who didn't seem interested in Texas A&M just weeks ago.
"I've been recruiting since the day I was hired, calling guys at night and doing what I had to do," Sherman said. "Recruiting is a never-ending process, it's a challenge because you could always make one more call. It's something you have to have a passion for which I do.
"I look at recruiting like I do a game, except instead of beating one team across the field, you have to beat five other teams or 10 other teams," Sherman said. "I enjoy recruiting, going into a player's home and evaluating why this young man is in the position he's in today, finding out who's calling the shots here and finding how I can best represent something that he would be interested in. I like that challenge."
Sherman and his staff have done well on the recruiting front so far and he hasn't even made any visits in person, but that will change beginning next week. Sherman and Cassidy have planned a non-stop tour of Texas over the next two weeks, hoping to meet with prospects from across the state and their high school football coaches.
"We'll try to hit as many schools as we can, hit our junior prospects and try to identify with a lot of HS coaches in the state through the process," Sherman said. "We may go see a kid at school A, but if school B and C are right there, we will try to stop by there too, even if they don't have any prospects this year."
One thing that hasn't changed for Sherman is the friendships that he and his wife, Karen, made during his last stop through Aggieland. The two, who raised four children while living in College Station, were surprised to see so many friends who were still living in town.
"We have a lot more friends back here than we thought we did," Sherman said. "Coming back to a place you haven't been in 12 years you forget a lot of faces and names and then you see some people you had kind of forgotten about. It's really kind of neat."
Sherman comes back to different Aggieland
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